As has been reported widely, Apple’s iPhone Update 1.1.1 makes it again impossible to use an iPhone on any network other than AT&T and eliminates third-party applications installed through the so-called Jailbreak hack. The update, which introduces the WiFi iTunes Store to the iPhone, enables TV-out and some basic usability features, like double-tapping the home button to get to phone-call favorites.
On one level, I’m not that bugged by this behavior. After all, Apple issued a huge warning that installing the update could render unlocked phones inoperable and “might” stop third-party applications from functioning. I’m sure AT&T has been screaming at Apple to close down the unlock loophole since it hit a month ago, and Apple earns part of the revenue from iPhone service plans.
On the other hand, this is incredibly anti-consumer behavior. Most formerly unlocked iPhones now won’t even work on AT&T. They’re useless bricks (only unlocks from iPhoneSimFree can work again with AT&T). Why shouldn’t an iPhone be able to operate like an iPod Touch if, for some reason, the SIM card isn’t functioning? Why should it be a brick. People have paid good money for it. This is Apple bending over backward to please a partner notorious for ignoring consumer interests.
Worse still is the removal (they were scrubbed off of phones) of all third-party software. What possible reason does Apple have for this other than an insistence on total control? That’s as bad or worse than the mobile service carriers themselves.
Obviously, wait to upgrade if you’re unlocked to see if the hackers can stay ahead of Apple in the “cat and mouse” game that Steve Jobs described the other week. Does this bug everyone else as much as me?